Silky Oak Chocolate prize package up for grabs

Luke Parker
Silky Oak Chocolate prize package up for grabs

With the Easter season quickly approaching, chocolatiers around the country are frantically working hard to keep up with orders.

Among them is the Silky Oak Chocolate Company, who started making some of their Easter products before Christmas to keep up with demand.

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From hobby to passion

Owners Jeanette and Kevin Darwen bought the Hawkes Bay Company 16 years ago with little knowledge of chocolate other than how to eat it. 

“The business was originally Kramer’s Chocolates which went back to 1959. We took it over in January 2000 and changed the name and branding then,” says Jeanette.

The couple say they owned an orchard and purchased the business because Kevin wanted something to keep him busy in winter, but soon became an all year round operation.

“Our son and daughter-in-law were returning to New Zealand and he was a classically trained chef that had done a lot of work with confectionary. So that sort of triggered everything really.”


Mouth-watering variety

Silky Oak uses anything from 20kg to 300kg of chocolate in a day with a variety of centres including mousse, ganache, and multiple fruit flavours.


She says their fruit flavours are the biggest selling chocolates and come in many varieties including blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry.

“The most challenging thing was getting our grape flavour to taste like a grape.”

One of their specialties, Jeanette says, is their signature marshmallow chocolate which has been voted best marshmallow in New Zealand.

“We also do chocolate packages where the packaging, lid and box itself is actually made out of chocolate.”

As well as chocolates, Silky Oak also produces 30 different fudges and run tours of their factory for cruise ships and our other local tour companies.


A traditional method

In the world of sweet temptations, Jeanette says chocolatiers all have their own style and niche so it doesn’t really get competitive with your mainstream brands like Cadbury and Whittaker’s.

“For us, we still do the traditional crèmes which a lot of companies don’t make anymore. A lot of them actually buy in their centres and add flavouring to it, where as for us, we still make it all from scratch.”

And it has certainly found favour with many chocolate fans around the country, allowing the Darwens to grow the company to a staff of 26, including 7 full-time in the chocolate factory, and stores in Hawkes Bay, Lower Hutt, and Tauranga.



Win a Silky Oak Chocolate Prize Package

To be in to win a Foiled Chocolate Round Box from the Silky Oak Chocolate Company, simply tell us which year and month Jeanette and Kevin took over Kramer’s Chocolates to start the Silky Oak Chocolate Company.

Email the answer to along with your postal address and contact phone number before midnight on March 28, 2016.

It’s one entry per person and the winner will be randomly selected from all valid entries received during the entry period.

The winner will be notified by phone or email on March 29, 2016. 

Please read the competition terms and conditions before entering.

SEE ALSO: Electric cars: pros and cons

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